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Heaven’s Gates. Wooden synagogues in the territories of the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth

Authors: Maria and Kazimierz Piechotka

Pages: 676

Publisher: Muzeum Historii Żydów Polskich, Polski Instytut Studiów nad Sztuką Świata

The book is a new, expanded edition of Maria and Kazimierz Piechotka’s monumental work on wooden synagogue architecture. The Piechotkas’ first book, Bóżnice drewniane, appeared in 1957 (English edition: Wooden Synagogues, 1959). More recently, Krupski i S-ka published (in order): Bramy Nieba. Bożnice drewniane na ziemiach dawnej Rzeczypospolitej, 1996 (English edition: Heaven’s Gates. Wooden synagogues in the territories of the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, 2004); Bramy Nieba. Bóżnice murowane na ziemiach dawnej Rzeczypospolitej, 1999 (Heaven’s Gates. Masonry Synagogues in the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth), and Oppidum Judaeorum. Żydzi w przestrzeni miejskiej Rzeczpospolitej, 2004 (Oppidum Judaeorum. Jews in the urban space of the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth). The present edition, prepared after Kazimierz Piechotka’s death, has been made possible thanks to the efforts of Prof. Jerzy Malinowski, a subsidy of the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, and the support of the Institute of Art of the Polish Academy of Sciences and POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw. The book is composed of two parts. The first, preceded by an introduction (presenting the historic background, basic information on the Jewish diaspora and the synagogue, and a brief outline of masonry synagogue construction in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth), discusses architectural and design solutions as well as the interior layout of wooden synagogues from the seventeenth through the early-twentieth century. The second part is in the form of an album, comprising descriptions, drawings and photographs of selected wooden synagogues from the period. The present edition features a different arrangement of chapters, some of them edited and expanded. The synagogue catalogue has also been altered to a small degree.

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